Mike Baird NSW Premier: Greens Councillor Murray Matson says farewell to the NSW wonder boy – 19th January 2017

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed below on the NSW Premiership of Mike Baird are purely the personal opinion of Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson and should not be interpreted as an official Greens NSW party statement. They should be seen as coming from a local Randwick perspective.

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In 2016 Greens Councillor Murray Matson successfully moved Randwick Council to call on the NSW Government to amend the CSELR light Rail route to save trees but the local race course proved to be a bigger stake holder to listen to for Premier Mike Baird.

I believe that Mike Baird re-set a personal standard in administrative integrity as Premier coming in as he did after the Eddi Obied horror of the previous Labor Government and Barry O’farrel’s grange affair. He should get a tick for that.

From an ecological perspective his biggest contribution was the NSW container deposit legislation and I am surprised that he did not get more credit for it. I hope his political colleagues don’t now proceed to diminish his legacy by messing up the implantation of it with a pro-packaging industry model. And we need the next NSW Premier to support a national agreement.

Baird’s biggest mistake was arousing the ire of ecological liberal voters over  the tree losses from the CSELR light rail, Westconnex and his awful  replacement biodiversity legislation. Returning light rail to the eastern suburbs was a great piece of needed infrastructure and he will be remembered for it. But he unnecessarily alienated both the community and we Randwick Councillors over the tree losses.

Greens Coogee candidate Lindsay Shurey has lead Randwick Council's efforts to save High Cross Park from a planned light rail interchange.

Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey successfully led Randwick Council’s efforts to save High Cross Park trees from a planned  CSELR light rail interchange.

Randwick Council should have always been the Government’s key stake holder to listen to and not the racecourse over the CSELR’s impact on the eastern suburb’s ecology.

Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey did successfully persuade Baird to save the trees of High Cross Park with the support of Liberal Mayor Scott Nash, but I was unsuccessful in saving the Alison Road trees.

The Westconnex motorway is as much a Labor party fiasco as it is a Liberal one but surely Baird could have stepped in and stopped it?

Along with chain sawed trees in other Council areas the Westconnex’  St Peter’s interchange will channel congestion into our suburbs of Kensington and Kingsford.

From a social justice view my party the Greens totally opposed his cut backs to women’s shelters and TAFE as articulated by Newtown Greens MP Jenny Leong and former Greens Maroubra candidate James Cruz. Baird could also have done more to emulate Coogee MP’s Bruce-Notley Smith’s supportive position on the Safe School’s Program. Bruce should now be called upon to re-open the debate with the next Premier.

From a purely local perspective I wonder what his going will have on Randwick Council’s Kingsford and Town Centres strategic review strategy to stop 25 story spot rezonings puncturing the Anzac Parade skyline? Both Labor and Liberal state government’s have stripped planning authority from local Council’s leaving Councillors dependent on establishing a positive working relationship with whoever is the Planning Minister. Randwick spent $300,000 on the K2K competition (my idea) to come up with the best rezoning strategy to combat spot rezonings. I hope that the new Premier recognises Council’s genuine efforts to establish a dialogue.

And then we have the question of what will happen with the eastern suburbs Council mergers now that Baird is gone? Will they proceed? And if they do, will the present Randwick Councillors be supported in setting the new administrative centre up in Kingsford against Sally Betts’ ambition to move it to Bondi Junction? Ms Betts appears to have incredible clout over local Liberal MP’s Bruce Notley-Smith and Malcom Turnball. Our Randwick residents need a Premier who won’t play favourites.

CONTACT: Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson matson@ihug.com.au @murraymatson

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